Sent from a friend:
From the Epilogue of Ed Kline’s book “Unlikeable”
“Has American culture become gross, coarse,vulgar?” writes author Stan Latreille, expressing the feelings of perhaps a majority of Americans, or at least a majority of those over the age of forty. “If I say yes, I no doubt will be dismissed as an old fogey. Well, I do say yes, so there. And if you disagree, I say you are blind, deaf, zoned out or just plain stupid.” Examples of the coarsening of America abound.
- Kim Kardashian is celebrated for balancing a champagne glass on her rear end.
- Bruce Jenner, once the picture of masculinity, is canonized for being castrated.
- Summer’s Eve feminine- care company runs a video on its website and YouTube showing a talking vagina. And Americans themselves seem coarser, grosser than previous generations.
- The average American woman now weighs the same as the average American man did in the 1960s.
- Tattoos— once limited to sailors and members of biker gangs— now disfigure more than a third of all Americans under the age of thirty. Nearly a third of those under thirty have a body piercing someplace other than the lobe of their ears.
- Within living memory, men wore ties to baseball games; today many people dress, even at work, as if in imitation of Shaggy from Scooby- Doo .
According to a study from professors at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the Thunderbird School of Global Management, employees are now twice as likely to experience rude behavior at an office as they were in 1998. Conservatives have every reason to be alarmed by the decline in American appearance and behavior, manners and morals. Along with the Roman orator Cicero, we say, “ O tempora, o mores ,” which translates to “Alas the times, and the manners.” “I am glad that I’m not raising kids today,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told New York magazine. “One of the things that upsets me about modern society is the coarseness of manners. You can’t go to a movie— or watch a television show for that matter— without hearing the constant use of the F- word— including, you know, ladies using it.” Fifteen years ago, Jacques Barzun, the brilliant conservative cultural critic and historian, wrote a book titled From Dawn to Decadence in which he lamented the direction in which our culture was headed. The cruel, perverse and obscene [is] more and more taken for granted as natural and normal. . . . The attack on authority, the ridicule on anything established, the distortions of language and objects, the indifference to clear meaning, the violence to the human form, the return to the primitive elements of sensation, the growing lists of genres called “Antis” . . . have made Modernism at once the mirror of disintegration and an incitement to extending it. Things have gone downhill since then. Conservatives rightly fear that decadence will lead to the fall of the United States just as surely as it led to the fall of Rome. Meanwhile, the chasm between conservatives and liberals grows wider by the day. We live in a house divided. This profound difference between people on the Right and Left will have to be managed with diligence if our country is not to fragment and fall apart. Great leadership will be required. This, not income inequality, is the moral issue of our time.
Don Johnson – June 2016